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Vincent issues warning

JACKSON – The return to school should be a joyous occasion for all local children.

However, as marked by a recent event in Northampton County where a teenager was abducted, children left unattended before and after the school day can become easy targets for predators.

The Northampton County Sheriff’s Office has issued a NOTICE OF CONCERN to parents that have children getting on and off school buses, or that may be left in an isolated area.

“I am asking parents to be cautious and be on the lookout for strange vehicles or strangers that may try to make contact with our children,” Northampton Sheriff Wardie Vincent said. “We had a juvenile abducted by a stranger from the D.C. area and the juvenile was gone for three to four hours. The juvenile was returned home and the perpetrator was arrested.”

While that case may be resolved, Vincent is worried of a repeat occurrence, especially with young children now returning to school and placed more in a setting outside the normal comforts of their homes.

“I am issuing this notice so that we all can take measures to protect our children and keep them safe as the schools open,” Vincent stressed.

If a child finds themselves in a situation involving a stranger, it is advised not to engage them in conversation. Be aware that a stranger may pose as a family friend and spin a story concerning a family member in trouble. The best advice is to walk or run away from the stranger and find the nearest trustworthy adult or contact the nearest law enforcement agency.

If such an occurrence happens in Northampton County, contact the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 534-2611 or the Northampton County Crime Stoppers Line at (252) 534-1110.